European parliament votes for extended COOL rules

MEPs have endorsed plans to extend country-of-origin labelling (COOL) for all meat used as ingredients in processed foods, with an overwhelming vote in the European Parliament that saw the resolution passed by 460 votes to 204, with 33 abstentions.

The issue was put in front of all MEPs on Wednesday (February 11) after a meeting of the EU’s environment, public health and food safety committee approved the plan by a 48 votes to 15 margin in January.

The European Commission will now draft legislative proposals on COOL for meat used in processed foods. Fresh beef already has to be declared, but the new legislation will extend that to pork and lamb (and other meats), and bring the rules into line with fresh chilled and frozen joints that have beeen subject to this type of labelling since mid-December last year.

The proposals are aimed at rebuilding consumer confidence following recent food fraud cases, including the horsemeat scandal, and to improve transparency throughout the supply chain.

The move is unpopular with the food sector, however, which says mandatory origin labelling of meat used in processed foods will do little for consumers, who they say have signalled they don’t see this as a priority, and will simply burden business with additional costs – that will be passed on in higher food prices.

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